Just when you think that children’s books are getting better than ever, something like this comes along: Judith Kerr’s Creatures: A Celebration of Her Life and Work. The book is published on Thursday to mark the 90th birthday of the beloved children’s writer and illustrator, and it contains 176 large, beautiful pages of nostalgia for anyone who has been a child in the past half century.
The book is a form of autobiography, in which Kerr’s drawings from all ages illustrate her life story. It begins with a story about drawing a tulip in her German kindergarten and a sketch of a typical family outside a typical house. But it is not a typical sketch: the little girl, “Ich”, appears to be lighting a bonfire and the little boy has found a bunny rabbit under a holly bush. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to draw,” she writes.